Nuptial Agreements – FAQs

More often than not we help couples untangle their relationships and face the realities of what being in a marriage/civil partnership means and the rights it confers on spouses and civil partners to those unions. The wide ranging and discretionary powers of the court is explained, and there’s often a pause whilst clients come to terms with the reality of what they are facing if agreement can not be reached as to how each parties needs will be met, outside of a court process.

However, there is an ever increasing demand for those planning their lives together sensibly discussing how they would wish it to be sorted out, should their relationship not stand the test of time.

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

A pre-nuptial agreement is made before and in contemplation of marriage.  It will detail the ownership of belongings, whether that is money, assets, property, inheritance or trusts and how they will be divided in the event of a breakdown of the marriage.

What is a post-nuptial agreement?

A post-nuptial agreement is entered into after marriage or a civil partnership has taken place and does the same as a pre-nup.  A post-nuptial agreement can also be useful if reviewing a pre-nuptial agreement down the line and generally should be considered in the event of a major life events such as the birth of a child, gifts, inheritances, new businesses and trust structures.

Are pre and post nups treated the same way?

Yes, the court has confirmed that the same principles apply to both.

Aren’t pre and post nups only for the wealthy?

In short, no. Whilst historically they were thought to be for those protecting considerable wealth, more and more we are seeing enquiries across a spectrum of assets and circumstances.

Are they legally binding?

They can be considered an insurance policy. Whilst they not binding by statute, they are now given significant weight by the Court unless considered to be unfair or if there are clear vitiating factors and anyone entering a pre or post nup should do so on the basis they will be held to its terms.

When might you need to consider having a nuptial agreement in place?

Below are some examples when nuptial agreements may be worth considering:

  1. The decision to marry or enter into a civil partnership is made
  2. Purchasing a property together or separately
  3. Business assets
  4. Owning property prior to the marriage/civil partnership 
  5. Protecting early inheritance or future inheritance 
  6. If one party is or becomes a beneficiary under a trust
  7. Protecting 3rd party assets such as gifted family assets, properties, pensions
  8. Gifts
  9. Ring-fencing assets

Some top tips:


The earlier the better.  These discussions can take time, they are sensitive and should start in good time before an intended wedding.  Ideally commencing those discussions 3-6 months before the wedding will allow sufficient time for the terms to be discussed and agreed.  If time is shorter, exploration will be given timing, the scope of the pre-nuptial agreement and whether consideration should be given to making it a post nuptial agreement.


Have an open and honest dialogue with your partner, these can be sensitive issues to discuss and should be handled gently.


It is essential that both parties can make informed decisions, transparency is key and full financial disclosure by both parties is an important part of the process .

Legal Advice

Be sure to know what you need and why, specialist legal advice and drafting is essential and protects both parties.

If you wish to discuss a potential nuptial agreement, contact Nicki on 020 3924 8462 or